7 ideas to (re)build our Smart, Sustainable and Creative cities in a post-COVID19 era.

What is the role of digital technology in the development of a new Smart, Sustainable and Creative City paradigm in a post-COVID19 era?

If we take into account that the €140 billion from the historic EU Coronavirus recovery fund that Spain is getting does not establish any concrete reform, unless the money is destined for the green and digital transition, we shall understand that this is a big opportunity for reshaping our urban environment.

As in any other moment in history, to achieve the so called Smart, Sustainable and Creative City we will need to use the technologies of our time. At this very moment the digital information and communication technologies offer an array of opportunities that revolve around the following vectors:

  • Mobility: we must adopt a new paradigm derived from climate change that proposes new solutions based on technological infrastructures, shared services and the abandonment of gasoline powered vehicles
  • Energy consumption and transport: we must find ways to improve our efficiency through new ways of commuting (car sharing, bicycles, electric vehicles) and ways of living (telework, refrain from flying, consuming locally) in order to reduce our CO2 footprint.
  • Reduction of water consumption and waste emissions: we must promote circular economy and buy quality, reusable and long-lasting goods that offer alternative ways to fast-fashion clothing or materials like plastic in order to reduce our impact on the ecosystems.
  • Technology and innovation: we must deploy software and hardware solutions for the public good which will turn citizens into agents capable of communicating their needs and working together for the public good in order to create new economic growth opportunities that respond to uncertain scenarios in real time.
  • Smart society and the collaborating city: we must turn the mass adoption by the public of new technologies, such as smartphones, from the consumerism of oligopolistic networks like Facebook or Google to a responsible use in order to foster the empowerment of citizenship in the public arena and promote innovative processes through applications that respect user data privacy.
  • Urban planning and building: we must focus on the construction of cities on a human scale in order to fight inequalities, find new ways to promote cultural diversity and advance towards a sustainable type of tourism.
  • Open Source Governance: we must change local authorities to face the great demands of our times, end ineffective bureaucracy, decentralize public administration and open legislation to the citizens so our collective wisdom can be employed to benefit the decision-making process and improve democracy.

All of this is aligned with EU’s Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 named DIGITALEUROPE which believes digital and sustainability should work hand in hand by leveraging emerging technologies as key enablers for sustainability while ensuring a viable digitalization.

Let’s start working ASAP in building this new urban futures!

*(Picture: Tabakalera Cultural Center and Cristina Enea park in San Sebastian).

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